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Missing centers, Clippers intend to sign Wenyen Gabriel

New Orleans Pelicans forward Wenyen Gabriel looks to pass.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Wenyen Gabriel (32) looks to pass the ball against the Charlotte Hornets on May 9 in Charlotte, N.C.
(Brian Westerholt / Associated Press)
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With their starting and backup centers both unavailable, the Clippers intend to sign Wenyen Gabriel to a 10-day hardship contract, a person with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly about the matter told The Times.

The 6-foot-9 Gabriel’s 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets expired late Thursday. He was in uniform for the Nets in New York on Thursday during their game against Philadelphia. The Clippers plan for Gabriel to be available for Friday’s game in Toronto, should he clear COVID-19 protocols.

Gabriel, 24, made his NBA debut Oct. 23, 2019 with the Sacramento Kings and has since appeared in 52 games with Portland and New Orleans, along with his most recent stint with Brooklyn.

Backup center Isaiah Hartenstein has sat out the last five games for the Clippers (18-17) because of a sprained ankle. Starter Ivica Zubac entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols Thursday, and is the fourth player currently in the COVID-related protocols, joining guards Jay Scrubb and Brandon Boston Jr., and center Moses Wright, a former 10-day signee himself.

Teams must have at least eight players available to play a game. If Gabriel is able to join the Clippers in Toronto, he will give them at least 10, and that doesn’t include starting guard Reggie Jackson, who is questionable to play while going through a reconditioning process following his eight-day stint in health and safety protocols.

With temporary roster sports opening because of COVID protocols, James Ennis III hopes to make an impression on the Clippers and anyone else watching.

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